Emergency management exercise underway at south Minneapolis school

A large, multi-agency emergency management exercise – Operation Backpack - is underway this morning, Wednesday, Aug. 11, at the Folwell Middle School in south Minneapolis. The fictional exercise simulates a mock school attack, but will prepare participants to respond to any disaster. Emergency responders will simulate crime scenes and will be treating volunteers who are pretending to be victims. 

All emergency responders, including police, fire and EMS, will be responding as though there are real victims and that a real crime is taking place. Area hospitals, city and county police, fire and emergency teams, state and local officials, other government agencies and private sector partners will also be participating.

Emergency responders from Minneapolis and Hennepin County are participating in an exercise designed to test and improve the community’s response to a crisis situation in one of our schools. While this is only an exercise – with volunteers playing the roles of students, parents and faculty – the response will be as realistic as possible. The goal of this exercise is to help the Minneapolis Public School System prepare in case any type of event occurs at the school and to create working partnerships with all first responders and the school district. This is the first exercise the Minneapolis Public Schools has participated in to prepare for any emergency situation with first responders.

Operation Backpack will give participating agencies the opportunity to test how agencies will work together in any emergency situation, how they will manage in the aftermath of such a crisis, inter-agency communication and the interoperability of communication equipment.

The Minneapolis Public Schools, in partnership with the City of Minneapolis, will be are coordinating the emergency management exercise. Agencies participating in the exercise include: Minneapolis Public Schools, the City of Minneapolis (Police, Fire, 911, Emergency Management, Public Health, Communications), Hennepin County (Sheriff, Medical Examiner, Emergency Management, human services/public health) North Memorial Hospital and EMS, and Hennepin County Medical Center and EMS.

The City of Minneapolis Department of Emergency Preparedness secured grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to plan and conduct this regional training exercise.

Published Aug. 11, 2010